District Reopening Plan

District Reopening Plan
Posted on 08/03/2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope you and your families are well. I’m writing to share the Argyle Central School District’s initial reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. 

As a reminder, this letter, as well as our NYS submitted reopening plan and all future reopening updates, can be found on our website:  www.Argylecsd.org.

 

District Reopening Plan 

On Friday, July 31, 2020, an outline of our reopening plans was submitted to the State.   Please keep in mind that this  reopening plan is our initial submission and is subject to change as our planning progresses. Over the course of this week, NYS will review submitted plans from all NYS school districts, and based on the information we’ve received from NYS, the Governor will announce guidance on the reopening of schools on or around August 7, 2020. 

As a superintendent, and as a parent, I understand the stress of not knowing the specifics details surrounding reopening in the fall, but I assure you that no matter the decision made by the state, we will continue to develop our plan with the health and safety of our students, our faculty and staff, and our families as our primary focus.  We will keep you updated on reopening plan details as they become available.

As of the posting of this letter, and should NYS allow, the district is planning to re-open for daily, in-person instruction for all students, K-12 for the 2020-21 school year.  In addition, we understand and respect a family’s decision not to return their child(ren) to in-person learning and are committed to providing remote instruction opportunities for those making that decision.  

In order to assist with our instructional planning and revised transportation schedules, families opting to participate in remote instruction will need to commit to doing so for a minimum of 5 weeks (in other words, students can only return to in-person instruction at the 5th week, 10th week, 15th week, etc…); families must indicate their decision to do so by August 14, 2020 (the District will send out a form for parents to do this).

As part of our reopening plan, it’s important to be aware of the following:

Class Sizes/Course Offerings

Individual class sizes will be reduced to accommodate NYS social distancing guidelines, including 6’ separation between student desks.  Following the social distancing guidelines, most of our classrooms will now fit a maximum of 12 -16 students.  This reduction in available seating requires us to add new sections to at least 4 elementary grade levels (grades 2,4,5,and 6) and reassign several of our certified elementary faculty members to serve as teachers for these new classrooms.  We were also forced to put a number of non-mandatory offerings, including Pre-K and some elective classes (at the high school), on hold for the 2020-21 school year.  

Face coverings/Masks and PPE 

  • Students, staff and all visitors to our schools will be required to wear face coverings in the school building. 
  • Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and while seated for instruction. Students who are medically exempt by a medical provider following DOH guidelines will not be required to wear a facial covering. 
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to have two face coverings (one to wear and one as a backup), however masks will be provided for students and staff who do not have their own.
  • Training on face covering/mask wearing will be provided. 
  • PPE will be provided to all staff as required by the Department of Health and OSHA guidelines.

Social Distancing

  • The District will utilize  6 feet of social distancing wherever possible including in classes, on school buses, in hallways, and on school grounds. 
  • In cases of emergency, if the 6 feet rule must be violated for safety reasons, it will be put back in place as soon as safely possible. 

Health Checks of Students and Staff

  • Parents will be required to certify each day that their child(ren) meets health requirements including temperature checks to assure temperature is below 100.0oF.  Students not meeting any of the DOH health requirements must be kept home from school until meeting all requirements. 
  • Nurses may conduct random checks of temperatures at the direction of the District Physician and/or the Department of Health.
  • Faculty and staff will be required to certify each day that they meet health requirements to be in the school buildings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting 

  • The District will ensure strict adherence to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19”.
  • Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection. 

New 2020-21 School Year Start Date

The District will push-back the first day of school for students until Friday, September 11, 2020. The goal in doing this is to set aside time for our faculty and staff to appropriately train and prepare for the many new safety protocols that will be required for this upcoming year.  September 8th, 9th, and 10th will be used as faculty and staff Superintendent Conference/Training Days. 

In addition, please be aware, to ensure that our students return to in-person instruction and have the necessary time and support required to learn, acclimate, and ask questions about the new safety protocols, we will bring students back gradually and over the first week of school.   To prepare for this transition, we will release a schedule and more information in the next week; this means that all grades will utilize remote learning in some form over the course of the first week of school. A detailed schedule will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Transportation

As you know, in our planning for the new social distancing standards on busses, the district sent out a transportation survey and made calls to all families in the district to get a general idea of whether or not your child(ren) will be using school transportation this school year.   I appreciate your feedback with our transportation survey(s).  We kindly encourage all parents who are willing and able to transport your own child or children to and from school to do so for the 2020-2021 school year and we thank those families who have already committed to transporting their child(ren) for the year.  

Many parents rely on school transportation, and we understand that asking all parents to transport students is not a reasonable request. However, having students that can avoid the use of school transportation frees up room on the bus for those that cannot make other arrangements and will allow us to ensure our students can all attend for in-person instruction.  

Please note, due to limited social distance seating on our busses, the district will only be able to pick up and drop-off students at one designated location (in other words, we will need to pick up and drop-off students for both the AM and PM bus run at the same location each day).

While on the bus, per NYS guidelines, all students who are not medically exempt will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing requirements.  

 

District Reopening Plan

A link to the District Reopening Plan is available here. In addition to our reopening document, the District will be sharing detailed Q&A documents and specifics related to our opening over the course of the coming weeks through email, social media, automated phone messages, and postings on our website.  In the coming month, the district will also provide opportunities for parents/guardians to join virtual presentations to discuss details, ask questions, and share concerns about the reopening plans for our district.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to review all reopening documents and direct any questions or concerns to Info@Argylecsd.org.

Looking Ahead

The District will continue to provide regular reopening updates to parents/guardians in the upcoming weeks. I realize there are many unanswered questions that you may have, so please do not hesitate to share your questions and concerns.

We know that our school is always stronger when we all work together.  I appreciate your continued support as we work to plan a safe and meaningful return to in-person instruction here at Argyle CSD.

On behalf of the entire ACS faculty and staff,  thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate these extremely challenging times together.   

Sincerely, 

 

Michael Healey

Superintendent